Transportation booked? Check. Accommodation arranged? Check. Gone through the visitor vetting process? Done. We are good to go!
In about 10 days the biggest wine show on the planet will open its doors. With 6000+ exhibitors, ProWein in Düsseldorf, Germany, is indeed a big event. The vast majority of important German wine producers will be there whether as attendees or as exhibitors. Over a 1000 German exhibitors will be represented with their own booth. Which leaves about 5000 exhibitors to come come from all over the world—the biggest groups will be the Italian and French exhibitors. And though it is harvest time in the southern hemisphere, Australia, New Zealand and many South American wine-producing countries will be very well represented. Also there are about 500 tasting events. As per official programme some of these events look like the standard tasting offers at the exhibitor's booth, but even addressed in a competitive approach, this is more than one could ever handle in three days!
To the newby it all looks, well, overwhelming. You will need to sort hard - unless you are looking only for exhibitors from Hong Kong, Finland, Martinique, or Kazakhstan — those and some other outliers are each represented by only one exhibitor :-).
Start with the most important question: What exactly is the purpose of the visit? Once that’s clearly established, one starts narrowing down the exhibitor list by keywords, country pavilions, or products. How many winemakers can you do in a day? For ourselves we'll count about half an our per booth for tasting and discussions. Include walking time at this humongous event as well as quick breaks and we'll get to a max of 10 serious stops. That's our minimum amount of winemakers to have on your daily list. We sort our target lists by hall and booth number. That will save a lot of walking. Also, if you would like to make appointments, do so based on your sorted list! This will save you precious time, too. Allow for some slack here, since sooner or later some of the appointments will have overrun, been postponed or delayed. Still have them, they will ensure your counterpart is prepared to a minimum. Also, reserve some timeto be used at the end of each day to just leisurely explore and discover wines and wineries.
So, what will we from BottleStops, a German wine tour operator, be doing at ProWein? We are mostly curious, yet we realised that curiosity amongst 6000 exhibitors can turn out to be fairly random. So here are our targets: We’ll go trend-hunting amongst German wineries. We’ll find out who’s hopped on the organic and natural wine bandwagon. We’ll listen to the latest trends in german sparkling wine - Sekt. We’ll attend a Masterclass in German Premier Crus the Grosses Gewächs. We’ll go see the grandmaster of all German Wine critics Stuart Pigott speaking about trends. And finally we'll check out all the non-wine-but-fairly-hip exhibitors (think craft beers, gin and their entourage) ProWein has added to its repertoire.
Oh, and we’ll follow a real insider’s tip: use public transport around ProWein. Traffic around the fairground is going to be real hell, especially on Days 2 and 3, Monday and Tuesday, when the trade show public will merge into the usual morning craze. So tram and bus it shall be! As a bonus local public transport is covered with the entrance tickets.
We are ready to go now - poke us if about your ProWein experience. We’ll definitely blog about our finds. Stay tuned!
All pictures in this post, including cover, are property of ProWein.